James Miller - Artemis FAQ

People have started asking questions about the birth and early days of Artemis.

Here's a few of the first ones.

When Did Work Start on Artemis?

I started programming in 1975.

Why Did We Choose Hewlett-Packard For The Artemis Hardware?

Richard Evans and myself laid down a few principles for the hardware :-

  1. Each system would consist of a CPU, disk drive, monitor and printer.
  2. Systems must be able to be serviced world-wide. (We did have three locations we asked all the companies, but I can't remember them!)
  3. FORTRAN must be available.
  4. Price competitive etc.

Our research showed that only three companies met the criteria; Digital Equipment, General Automation and Hewlett-Packard.

When we said we were going to create a world-wide company, DEC decided we were potty or something and ignored us.

GA made a strong pitch but they were more expensive on price, as they needed another 16Kb of memory.

I can still remember the original pitch from HP. Richard and I were in his garden sitting by the pool in swiming trunks and it was at least an hour before the salesmen from HP took their jackets off!

But they wanted the business and a few weeks later I started programming!

Why Was The Company Called Metier?

Naming the company was a real problem in that most seemed to have gone.

Someone suggested Metier as from the French meaning something you're good at.

The OED defines Metier as 'one's trade, profession, or department of activity; one's forte'.

Even then we ended up being called Metier Management Systems rather than just Metier because of class with a company called Meter Pump Systems. I think there may have even been a bracketed London in the original company name!

Why Was The Original Product Called Apollo?

I'm not sure who thought up the original name, but it may well have been Danny, Roy Brown's wife. We all just thought it was a good country and language-unspecific name for a product.

Why Was The Product Name Changed To Artemis?

The original Apollo product was a Project Management System only, but after a year or so, we extended the product to be a relational database as well.

I think it was Richard Nobbs or it might have been Peter Brennan, who dubbed this new product 'An RTE Management Information System', where RTE was the HP operating system of the computers we used.

It seemed a good name at the time.

We also had another mundane naming system at the time. Something like Apollo-A for project management, Apollo-B for simple databases and Apollo-C for all the relational stuff!

So you could see why Apollo and Artemis came to be sued.

When we set up in the United States, we based ourselves in Houston and found there were too many Apollo this and Apollo that.

So the product name was changed to Artemis.

It was only later that we found out, that Apollo and Artemis were brother and sister and had been born on the island of Delos in the Aegean.

Time Sharing Ltd., which was the company that Roy, Robin and Richard had all worked for or part-owned, and I'd written software for, was owned for a time by a company called Delos Computer Services.

Strange but true!